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"I have this mentality that people don't remember the runners-up" - Naomi Osaka after reaching Australian Open final

Noami Osaka
Noami Osaka
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Modified 18 Feb 2021
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Naomi Osaka is through to the 2021 Australian Open final after a straight-sets win over fellow American Serena Williams. Osaka, a champion here in 2019, won 6-3, 6-4, thus completing her 20th consecutive victory on the tour.

The 23-year-old will face another American, Jennifer Brady, in the final on Saturday. Brady overcame Karolina Muchova in three sets in the second women's singles semifinal.

Naomi Osaka's 20-match unbeaten streak is the longest of her career, and in her post-match press conference the Japanese about her mentality when it comes to winning.

"I have this mentality that people don't remember the runners-up," Osaka said. "You might, but the winner's name is the one that's engraved."

Naomi Osaka improved to 3-1 lifetime against Serena Williams, but insisted that she was honored to be on the same court as the 23-time Major champion.

“I think honestly for me it’s always an honor to play her and I just don’t want to go out really bad so I just wanted to try my best,” Naomi Osaka said. "I was a little kid watching her play. Just to be on the court playing her is a dream.”

I had all these thoughts about how Serena Williams is the best server, I'm probably not going to be able to break her: Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka at the net following their semi-final
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka at the net following their semi-final

Naomi Osaka started the match by losing her serve, and was also a point away from going a double break down. But the Japanese regrouped in fine fashion, bagging six of the next seven games to claim the first set.

Naomi Osaka was particularly good while returning Serena Williams' serve, which is widely considered the best in history.

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"There was a point when I got broken today, and I was going up to the line to return her serve, in my head I had all these thoughts about how she's the best server, I'm probably not going to be able to break her," Osaka said.
"But it is what it is. Then I told myself to erase those thoughts and just to, like, in a way I was telling myself I don't care because I can only play one point at a time and I'm going to try my best to play every point as well as I can," she added.

Besides her 20-match winning streak, Naomi Osaka has also never lost at a Grand Slam when she has reached the quarterfinal stage. She will be hoping to keep the record intact against Brady on Sunday, but at the moment she is not thinking about that.

"I never really look at stats or achievements or anything like that," Naomi Osaka said. "I'm the type of person that's always trying to go on to the next thing, which may be bad or good."
"I feel like maybe later in my life I'll appreciate the things that I've done more," she added. "But as of right now, I feel like I'm chasing records that can't be broken no matter how hard I try. I think it's the human trait of not being satisfied."
Published 18 Feb 2021, 15:25 IST
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